Thursday, November 23, 2006

The East Bay Today: November 23, 2006

Thu, Nov 23, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Happy Thanksgiving, East Bay!

Normally we'd give you a list of places to go and things to do today, but we know you're all home packing in the stuffing and watching the toob, hoping one of the Macy's parade balloons will go AWOL again this year and do some major damage. But if you've got a spare moment for some Thanksgiving-related civic pride, we do suggest you hop on over to the White House Web page, where you can learn about our country's venerable annual tradition of ... pardoning a turkey. To quote:

    Presidents traditionally have granted the National Thanksgiving Turkey a "pardon." After the presentation, the National Turkey and its alternate will be taken to Disneyland Resort and Theme Park in Anaheim, California to be a part of the holiday display and where they will stay the remainder of their natural lives. Both the turkeys will serve as honorary Grand Marshals for Disneyland's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Ain't that America?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pleasanton Teen Attempts, Fails to Thin Herd

by Jonathan Kaminsky
Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

A recent grad of Foothill High in Pleasanton returned to his old stomping grounds on Sunday to film himself ride his bike off a 25-foot ledge onto a grassy hill. You know, like in Jackass (or more appropriately put, like a jackass). As reported by the Tri-Valley Herald, the young man landed badly, as in, on his face. Alas, we don't have tape of this blunder, but we can say that Christopher John White, eighteen, is lucky, if embarrassed, to be alive, and with feeling in his feet, no less.

Next Year, Stuff a Live Turkey

by John Birdsall
Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Disgusted by the plastic-sheathed ball of flesh and gizzards oozing pink juices into your fridge? Well, next year you can pony up thirty bucks to hand-feed squash and pumpkin pies to turkeys that won't end up brined, basted, and baked. The CoCo Times reports on last Saturday's Celebration of the Turkeys at Farm Sanctuary, a retirement home for rescued farm animals near Sacramento. Vegetarians like Electra Harris of Vancouver (she racked up 24 hours on a bus to get there) frolicked with rescue fowl before sitting down to a celebratory meal of Tofurky.

"This is a place where people can bond with the turkeys and see they have individual personalities and qualities, that they like to eat and sleep, hang out with their turkey friends," says Leanne Cronquist, who manages the shelter. Kinda sounds like everyone we know.

Free Food and Cocktails? Oh, the Agony

Being a food writer must be easy, right? Think again. The CoCo Times offers two glimpses into the horrible realities just beyond the glamorous veneer of expense-account mee krob and paid travel. Novice restaurant critic James Temple shares his epiphany that having to eat out for work turns your tummy into a muffin top - the belly flab that hangs over your waistband. "In a little over a month and a half," Temple writes, " I have consumed: four platters of fish and chips, three heaping Italian combo sandwiches, and the previously mentioned [patty] melts." Wait till you start sweating fry oil, James.

Tawnytinis? You have to read between the lines to feel food editor Nicholas Boer's pain. Paid for by port producers, his junket to Portugal's Douro Valley was partly a sell job to food writers to help them brand port as a fun cocktail mixer. "Tawnytinis" combine twenty-year-old tawny port spiked with Chivas Regal, served in martini glasses with orange twists. Um, does it really have to be two decades old if you're dousing it with Chivas? For that matter, do you really need to burn up six thousand miles worth of jet fuel to taste one?

What's a Ghetto Without Burritos? The Chron reports that the new tenant taking over from the late Socca Oven in Berkeley's Epicurious Garden food mall is a burrito joint called Picoso. "The newcomer may be the only place in the Gourmet Ghetto where you can get a bite for under $5," the Chron suggests. Oh, yeah? Tell that to somebody munching on an oil-shiny slice of wild mushroom pizza today at the Cheese Board Pizzeria.

The East Bay Today: November 22, 2006

Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Today's Top Event: Reynaldo Rey stars on Comedy at the Box night at 2232 MLK.

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: Former Oakland A's manager Tony LaRussa at Lafayette's Veterans War Memorial Building.

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: The Cheese Board Pizza Collective in Berkeley.

On the Town: Going out tonight? Cocktails and jukebo tunes warm the soul at the Lost Weekend in Alameda.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out Jump the Shark.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

You Write Too Long: This Week's Cover Story Bite-Sized

by Kelly Vance
Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

This week, "The Best Records of 2006": In a radical departure from form, this week's Express cover story is concise and to the point, with a handy consumer angle, yet. But we have a few questions: How, exactly, did Ray Charles know what his dice read when shooting craps (re: Rachel Swan's Calvin Keys item)? Come on, you guys, make up your minds - is Two Gallants too literary and long-winded (re: Nate Seltenrich's Trainwreck Riders cap) or does it actually get it right (Two Gallants cap by Cole Haddon)? How many times has David Downs visited Karen O's MySpace page (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs)? What's with all this swords 'n' sorcery stuff (Dragonlord item by Kathleen Richards)? How many Viking Stratocaster reverb kings does it take to fill a fjord (Mark Keresman on Terje Rypdal)? Get out your wallets.

Casino-Seeking Indians Are Carpetbaggers, Study Says

by Jonathan Kaminsky
Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

As reported in the CoCo Times, a county-funded university study says the Scott's Valley Band of Pomo Indians, which hopes to acquire land to build a thirty-acre casino in North Richmond, has no ancestral ties to the East Bay. The county, which opposes casinos near cities, will use the study to make its case against the tribe before the Department of the Interior.

Tribal chairman Don Arnold was dismissive. "Indian people were here a long time ago," he told the Times. "Pomo is not an Indian tribe. It's a dialect. Did we name ourselves a dialect? We were Indian people. ... Who are you going to believe: the Indian or the white guy?"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cheating Is Wrong! (Here Are a Few Ways to Do It.)

by Lauren Gard
Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 3:24 PM

With finals just around the corner, cheating season is about to kick into high gear. If you're in need of some ideas for how to pass that class that's about to destroy your GPA, let these four highly amusing UC Berkeley teaching assistants show you how. Hint: A glue stick is about to become your new BFF. (Caveat: Yeah, the video's nine minutes, but it's not like you didn't waste a half-hour trying to figure out what you're allowed to pack in your carry-on for your flight tomorrow. You've got the time.)

Iraq War Memorial Fans Flames in Lafayette

by Kathleen Richards
Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Lafayette residents are heated over a war memorial of 300 white crosses alongside Highway 24. According to the Chron, the display and accompanying sign, which reads "In Memory of 2,839 U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq," has touched off a wave of controversy, and even prompted one motorist to knock the sign down, which is on private land. The city council plans to discuss the issue at a meeting on Nov. 27.

The East Bay Express: November 21, 2006

Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Today's Top Event: Bedford Gallery's Anatomy of a Hot Rod

Brainiac: Learn something new every day. Today's lecture: YouthSpeaks spoken-word workshop at McClymonds High School

Is It Lunch Yet? Express food critic John Birdsall recommends: Tina's Creekside Cafe in El Sobrante

On the Town: Going out tonight? Enjoy the old-world Irish atmosphere and savor fish and chips at Beckett's in downtown Berkeley.

Hardly Working: You've got time. We know how to waste it. Check out the still-classic Pac-Man.

Feed Us: Got an East Bay news tip, photo, video, or link we need to know about? E-mail us.

In Berkeley, the Ideal Thanksgiving Means Plucking Feathers

by John Birdsall
Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 3:24 PM

In grandma's day, Thanksgiving was all about cranberry sauce with visible can rivets and Butterballs with plastic pop-up timers. In our veggie co-op in college, Thanksgiving meant tempeh-stuffed squash and cannabis-laced millet bake. But a new breed of Cal students and faculty has gone old-school - like, Little House on the Prairie old. The Berkleyan reports that student Misha Bailey's kinda bummed this year that her parents ordered a precooked Thanksgiving dinner from Whole Foods. "In twenty years I hope to raise my own turkeys to eat for Thanksgiving," Bailey says. "That'll be cool." Journo prof Michael Pollan sounds a little guilty that he'll be slicing into an organic bird from Iowa. "It's not local, true," he says, "but we can't be zealots." Amen. And pass the millet bake.

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